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Help with "Stand"

1401 Views 5 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  IliamnasQuest
Well, Apollo is turning six months old soon, and I would like to take a decent picture of him stacked, so I have been trying to teach him stand, but I have been failing miserably. Help!

What I have been doing is I have been getting him to stand, and when he does, I give him a treat and firmly say "Stand"

I do this for a minute or two straight, probably 5-10 reps, and when I tell him to sit, and then stand, he just keeps sitting there looking at me like he's waiting for the next command. Suggestions?
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Some info I found...

It sounds like you are teaching it properly, but it may just take some time to really get it. And teaching to stack is actually I think a couple of commands tied together. First your dog has to stand, then accept that it can be posed, and then hold the position/stay. Which may be kind of hard for a puppy that is easily distracted.

While I am certainly no expert, and am struggling myself to understand how to best teach this... I think this is why many people say you need 2 or 3 people to get a good stacked shot. You need to give the dog something to focus on. In the ring many people use food bait, and toss it in front of the dog, My dog likes his ball. When I want him to stand still, I tell him when he is standing to WAIT(not move) and then toss his ball a foot or two in front of him. If he is focused on the ball, he will then let me mess with his feet somewhat to place them. Now this is just good enough to have someone snap a few pictures before I have to release him to go grab his ball.
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I think this one takes a while to "click". Honestly we have done sit-stand or sit-stand-sit on rally courses and my dog doesn't actually know the stand command, lol. I just know the right hand signal to get her to do it, hehe.

It could be confusing because staying in a stack and standing from a sit are really two different things to the dog, at least at first. For example, Kenya knows a moving stand-stay (we heel along, I yell "halt!" and she stops in a standing position as I keep going), but like I said, she doesn't quite understand the sit-stand or sit-stand-sit yet.
Yeah, I just wanted him to learn stand so he could stay in the stand and get used to me moving his feet in the proper places. I'm gonna try using more than one person to help me, maybe that'll help some. Any ideas on how to get him to stay standing? Sometimes when I'm trying to teach him, he tries to sit or lay down. Usually I say "Up" (which to him just means sit from down, or stand from sit, or get up on something from stand) and he'll stand for a few seconds, but I think that this is our main problem. Do I just need to keep teaching it and it'll eventually resolve? Thanks for the help and information.
I would start by getting him in a stand and working up a stand-stay and then at the same time, working on lots of physical touch while feeding him treats. Once he is comfortable with that type of physical touch and also understands how to hold a stand-stay, then I'd start combining the two, like putting him in a stand stay and placing one front foot...stay for 5 seconds, treat...stay for 10 seconds....treat. Increasing the time and the amount of physical touch to get him in the stack.

Another thing might be to teach him the "free stack" if you've seen him do a good stack on his own. I was at a dog show yesterday where the white shepherd WON best in show and at one point instead of the handler setting up her dog she just had the dog slowly walk forward into a free stack and had her hold the stay. That stack looked great and also more natural than starting with a dog likely standing square and having to place each foot several times before being satisfied. My Kenya doesn't like a lot of physical manipulation and her free stacks always look better than what I can set up, so I work on teaching her to walk forward into her own stack and then stay there.
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The stand command for a six month old puppy is kind of a difficult one. I would give him lots of time and break everything down into very small steps so that he understands. I'm sure he really doesn't have a clue what you're asking of him at this point. Most dogs are taught to sit from the time they're little puppies, and then when people decide to teach the stand the dogs get really confused. They've been praised and rewarded for sitting from a stand for months or longer and now they're told they have to stay standing - and when they get worried about it, the default behavior is to sit (or lay down if that's something they've learned previously). Dogs who keep sitting when told to stand are doing it because they really don't know any better and they're trying to make their person happy.

I teach my dogs to stand both on hand signal and on verbal command, but the hand signal is the quickest and easiest for them to understand. I put a treat in my right hand. With my dog at my left side, I bring my right hand over in front of the dog's nose, directly in front of the nose, and once the dog is aware of the treat I move my hand slightly forward so that the dog has to take a step forward to reach it. As soon as the dog is standing, I mark the behavior with "YES!!!" and I give her the treat. I don't worry about her continuing to stand at that point - the first step is to get her to stand, and once I say "YES" then the behavior has been marked and she can move without any restriction.

After a few times of luring with the treat, I do the same thing with my hand except without a treat in it. I continue to mark the behavior with "YES" and then give a treat from my pocket or from a stash on a table/counter etc. So now the dog is learning the hand signal without a treat being used to actually lure her into the stand.

My goal is to have my dog stand without moving forward, though, so I gradually fade the movement of my hand. I still use my right hand in front of the nose, but instead of moving it forward to encourage the dog to step forward, I move it slightly downwards and then use my left foot to gently touch the back feet to get the dog to stand by moving the rump back instead of stepping forward. This takes awhile for dogs to understand, and I continue rewarding with treats for quite awhile.

Once this stand is well-established with the hand signal (I figure at least a week of 2X daily practices, all positive and happy with no corrections - some dogs take more than a week - I want to make sure the concept is really sinking in) then I can do one of two things: I can add in the verbal "stand" and start to use smaller hand movements so that I can eventually completely fade away the hand signal and have the dog stand on verbal only. This takes a LONG time for many dogs.

Or I can start to extend the amount of time the dog is standing before I reward. This means that I give the stand signal, the dog stands, I gently praise but I don't say "YES" for a few seconds. Once I say "YES" then the dog can move from the stand. I gradually extend the amount of time to several seconds, then ten seconds, then 15, etc. This needs to be gradual because if the dog starts breaking the stand before I say "YES" then I've screwed up. I want her to be calm and relaxed through this, so there are no consequences to breaking the stand other than she doesn't get the treat.

Once the dog can hold the stand for at least 30 seconds, I can start moving slightly and using a stay command too. By "moving slightly" I mean I may lean forward a bit at first to see if she moves, then gradually make it a step forward six inches, and work from there. I want her to understand that staying is a great thing, so when I step forward and she stays there I will mark that with "YES" and give the treat. I don't need to return to her side for awhile - I need to show her that remaining in position when I move is good, and then build from there. Many dogs break once their owners move and the way to avoid this is to make the movements very small and to reward quite a bit at the beginning.

And if you want to start stacking your dog, that is also added in. You first start with a very light touch on the head or shoulders, and eventually extend that to the back and down the legs.

You can see that it's all a gradual process. I never have someone else assist with the stand until I'm at the point where my dog fully knows the stand-stay and I want to introduce another person acting as judge. Then we work slowly to teach the dog that another person approaching still means that the dog should stay in the stand (which is another tough thing for many dogs).

Good luck!

Melanie and the gang in Alaska
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